October 3, 2006

Young, political science prof, dies at 57

Iris Marion Young, a leading feminist thinker, died August 1 after a year-and-a-half battling with cancer. She was 57.

A scholar and an activist, Young joined the University of Chicago’s political science department in 2000, cultivating a highly regarded reputation for her teaching and writings on global justice; democracy and difference; continental political theory; ethics and international affairs; and gender, race, and public policy.

Cass Sunstein, a professor in the Law School, said Young’s greatest contribution to political science has been “her analysis of the nature of oppression and of the value of representing groups, as such, in democratic processes.”

Young was a favorite teacher of both graduate and undergraduate students who took her political science class on global justice. Her popularity extended beyond the student body; Young’s colleagues said they enjoyed debating with her and watching her play jazz piano at the Quadrangle Club.

Young’s works have been translated into more than 20 languages, including Croatian, Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Slovakian, Spanish, and Swedish.

“She was one of the main intellectual forces in the department,” said political science professor John Mearsheimer in a press release. “Both students and faculty held her in the highest regard. Her passing leaves a gaping hole that will be very hard to fill.”